Grooming: Know the Warning Signs

One tool common to those who sexually abuse kids and teens is grooming: manipulative behaviors that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught. Though grooming can take many different forms, it often follows a similar pattern. 

As Virus Restrictions Eased, Sexual Assault Survivors Accessed Help in Record Numbers

As states have eased restrictions over the last 60 days, a record number of people have sought services from RAINN. A total of 60,437 people received help from RAINN’s victim service programs in May and June, up 18 percent from the same period last year, and the highest number in RAINN’s 26-year history. “As states began lifting stay-at-home orders and some survivors finally had the privacy to seek out support, RAINN experienced a dramatic spike in people accessing help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline and our other victim service programs,” said Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN. “In May and June, half of visitors to our online hotline, which sees some of the most urgent cases, were minors.”

For Many Black Survivors, Reporting Raises Complicated Issues

According to Department of Justice statistics, Black girls and women 12 years and older experienced higher rates of rape and sexual assault than white, Asian, and Latina girls and women from 2005-2010. Not only do members of the Black communitty experience higher rates of sexual violence, but they often feel they have few options for seeking justice and help due to a number of widespread institutional and historical factors. “If I could say one thing to other Black survivors right now, it would be,’ You matter and there is help,’” said Sonya, survivor and RAINN Speakers Bureau member.

Author of New Children’s Book on Healing and Exploring Identity

In the just-released children’s book, The Ship We Built, author Lexie Bean tells the story of a transgender boy, Rowan, learning to embrace his own identity while healing from child sexual abuse. 

Barriers to Reporting Sexual Violence in LGBTQ Communities

Members of LGBTQ communities in the U.S. face higher rates of sexual violence than the general population. While many survivors face barriers that may prevent them from reporting sexual violence, such as the fear of being judged or not believed, members of LGBTQ communities often face additional barriers to reporting or getting help. “No one should be denied access to these crucial resources because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” says Sorensen. “All survivors of sexual violence should have access to the support they deserve.”

COVID Update: Hotline Continues to Hear from Children, Those Concerned for Their Safety

The COVID-19 crisis has upended life in every home across the country—especially for children. For most, being away from school and daycare means more time at home with loving families, but some children are having the opposite experience. Since March, more than half of those reaching out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline have been minors, and of those who talked about their coronavirus-related concerns, 3 out of 4 said they were living with the person who was abusing them during the quarantine.

Survivors of Sexual Violence Continue to Voice Safety Concerns Due to COVID-19

Survivors of sexual violence continue to express fears about their safety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline cite a number of concerns and challenges posed by the virus and its resulting restrictions. “RAINN continues to see more visitors to the National Sexual Assault Hotline looking for support and safety planning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president. “As states ease their stay-at-home orders, we expect to see an increase in demand for assistance as survivors have greater privacy and freedom of movement to reach out for help. RAINN has been increasing staffing to prepare for this expected surge and to ensure we can be there for survivors when they need us most.”

RAINN Working to Protect Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19 Crisis

RAINN is working with state agencies to address emergency preparedness and response measures for survivors of sexual violence, particularly children, during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During natural disasters and in conflict zones, the prevalence of sexual violence increases,” said Camille Cooper, RAINN’s vice president of public policy. “There are so many things we need to consider in this crisis to ensure that we’re doing all we can to prevent sexual violence and appropriately respond when it does happen.”

COVID-19 Update: RAINN is Here for Survivors

As each us face the many ways COVID-19 has affected our communities and everyday lives, we wanted to take a moment to let you know that RAINN continues to be here to support survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones, no matter what. We know that this is a difficult time, and that uncertainty and feeling a lack of control over our lives may feel especially overwhelming for survivors of sexual violence already coping with trauma and stress. If you need to talk, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available at 800.656.HOPE or online.rainn.org. As always, services are free, confidential, and 24/7. Whether you’re a survivor or a loved one, we're here for you.

Sexual Violence Researcher Talks About Supporting Loved Ones

Each month, RAINN highlights a member of its National Leadership Council. The NLC is a group of dedicated individuals who have shown their commitment to RAINN’s mission of supporting survivors and ending sexual violence. This month we checked in with Dr. Sarah Peitzmeier, a researcher, advocate, and RAINN volunteer. "You can't make it happen right now, but you have the privilege of walking beside your loved one as they work to heal themselves," says Dr. Peitzmeier

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